Katie Boulter has stormed into the top 30 of the WTA rankings for the first time after she claimed San Diego Open success.

British number one Boulter recovered from a set down to beat Marta Kostyuk 5-7 6-2 6-2 to clinch a maiden WTA 500 title.

Here, the PA news agency looks at the rise of the new world number 27 and what is next.

Always destined for stardom?

Boulter has been a prominent name in British tennis circles since her teenage years and followed in the footsteps of her mother Susan by picking up a racket to represent her nation at junior level. A breakthrough Wimbledon in 2018 – where she tested Naomi Osaka – appeared the catalyst for the tall right-hander to kick on in her development after she reached 82 in the world, but a serious back injury a year later curtailed her progress.

Road to recovery

The spinal stress fracture in Boulter’s back forced her to miss the majority of 2019 and when she was finally fit again, the coronavirus pandemic sent the world into lockdown. After the tennis season did resume, minor injuries halted the momentum of Boulter, who won a low-level ITF event in Grenoble at the start of 2022 before a leg issue saw her sit out the clay-court season.

Second Wimbledon breakthrough

 

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Boulter recovered in time to achieve a grand-slam best result with a run to the Wimbledon third round after victory over former world number one Karolina Pliskova. The next big challenge was to improve the robustness of her body after she built a strong team around her, which included coach Biljana Veselinovic and she kicked off 2023 with a number of fine displays in ITF tournaments. She beat compatriot Jodie Burrage to seal Canberra success before she made another two finals in Japan in May.

Maiden WTA title

The 2023 grass-court season started with Boulter making the last four at the Surbiton Trophy before she beat a string of compatriots to seal Nottingham Open success for her first victory at WTA 250 level. It was followed by third-round showings at both Wimbledon and the US Open to cap off an excellent year. The 27-year-old’s new-found confidence was on display for Great Britain at the United Cup in December where she got the better of top-five player Jessica Pegula before going all the way in San Diego.

Can she surprise at Indian Wells?

There will be little time for Boulter to celebrate the biggest victory of her career or the Mexican Open success of boyfriend Alex De Minaur, with both set to play in the women’s and men’s editions of the WTA 1000 tournament BNP Paribas Open, which starts this week. British number one Boulter enters after beating five top-50 opponents in San Diego to take her season record to 11 wins in 14 matches. A key feature of her form has been the Briton’s composure in crunch moments after she recovered from a number of first-set double-faults to beat Kostyuk and she will fancy her chances of causing a splash in Indian Wells with her booming forehand a match for anyone right now.

British number one Katie Boulter thanked boyfriend Alex de Minaur for racing over to California to watch her win a first WTA 500 tournament after his own success at the Mexican Open.

The 27-year-old came from behind to claim the San Diego Open title with a 5-7 6-2 6-2 win over Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk and earn a second career title.

Boulter’s victory was watched by De Minaur, who defended his Mexican Open title in Acapulco on Saturday before scheduling an early-morning flight to support her on Sunday.

“I want to say a small special thank you to my boyfriend,” Boulter said post-match.

“He finished last night at midnight and I really want to embarrass him. He got a 4.15 taxi this morning and six o’clock flight to be here today, so I do appreciate it.”

After an even start to the match, Kostyuk began to get the better of Boulter and surged into a 5-2 lead.

Boulter fought back to level at 5-5 but the sixth-seeded Ukrainian regained the momentum to wrap up the first set 7-5.

Boulter then found her groove in the second, dominating on her first serve to clinch the set 6-2 and force a deciding third set.

The Briton continued her ascendancy into the third, claiming the first break point of the set en route to opening up a 3-1 advantage.

Boulter broke again in the seventh game and hit her first two aces of the match in the next to close out the victory in two hours and 13 minutes.

The San Diego win is her second WTA title, adding to a maiden championship on grass in Nottingham last summer and Boulter reflected on a “special” week in California.

“This week has been very, very special for so many different reasons,” she said post-match.

“This one is pretty amazing, I’ve worked very hard for it, I played some incredible tennis all week.

“Today was a complete battle, with myself as well because I was a little bit nervous. But I managed to get over the line and that I’m very proud of.

“A lot of it was about me staying as tough as I possibly could mentally and I managed to keep my cool and actually kind of went within myself and calmed myself down a lot.

“I think that really helped me and then I started to relax and play through shots a little bit more.”

Boulter has had a flying start to the 2024 season and the victory over Kostyuk sees her break into the top 30 for the first time, now ranked 27th.

British number one Katie Boulter has claimed her first WTA 500 tournament victory with a 5-7 6-2 6-2 win over Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk in the final of the San Diego Open.

The 27-year-old from Leicester was watched by boyfriend Alex De Minaur, who scheduled an early-morning flight after retaining his title in Acapulco.

After an even start between the two, the sixth seeded Ukrainian began to get the better of Boulter, stringing multiple games together and rapidly closing in on the opening set.

Boulter fought back to even the set at 5-5, but Kostyuk regained the momentum to wrap up the first set 7-5.

Boulter then found her groove in the second, dominating on her first serve to clinch the set 6-2 and force a deciding third set.

The Briton continued her ascendancy into the third, claiming the first break point of the set en route to opening up a 3-1 advantage.

Boulter broke again in the seventh game and stormed home from there to close out the victory in two hours and 13 minutes.

Both women picked up their first WTA Tour titles last year in breakout 2023 seasons.

Boulter claimed her maiden championship on grass in Nottingham last summer, while Kostyuk found victory in Austin.

Boulter has had a flying start to the 2024 season and the victory over Kostyuk guarantees she will break into the top 30 for the first time.

Katie Boulter vowed to keep having fun on the court after beating Emma Navarro to reach her biggest career final at the San Diego Open.

The British number one, who claimed her maiden WTA Tour title on grass in Nottingham last summer, will bid for the trophy at a WTA 500 tournament for the first time thanks to a 6-3 6-1 win.

Boulter has had a flying start to the 2024 season and victory over her third top-30 opponent of the week guarantees she will rise at least 14 places in the rankings to a new career-high of 35.

She will break the top 30 if she can defeat Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk in the final on Sunday night – where she will be watched by boyfriend Alex De Minaur, who scheduled an early-morning flight after retaining his title in Acapulco.

Boulter said: “Today was one of those matches that everything just clicked. I came onto the court and started the first few games and I could feel the power that she had and the way she works and manoeuvres the ball.

“I had to come up with something better and play more aggressive and go for it and I think that was my chance to just trust myself and trust the work I’ve put in and it paid off.

“It’s my biggest career final so far. I’m just going to keep having fun. I’ve got such good vibes going with the team right now so nothing changes there, I’m just going to enjoy myself.”

 

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The 27-year-old from Leicester dominated on her serve against third seed Navarro, winning more than 87 per cent of first serve points and allowing the American just two break points, both of which she saved.

 

Rain stopped play early in the second set but the delay did nothing to halt Boulter’s momentum as she wrapped up victory in only 48 minutes of play.

“It was obviously very tricky with the rain delay in the middle of the match,” said Boulter, who was ranked well outside the top 100 a year ago.

“I felt like I had the momentum behind me, I was putting a lot of pressure on myself in the rain delay to stay focused and stay warm and continue that momentum and I think I came out and played some really good stuff to start with and kept that rolling and I think that was super important today.”

Kostyuk is also having one of the best weeks of her career and she stunned American top seed Jessica Pegula, winning 7-6 (4) 6-1.

It was the 21-year-old’s first win over a top-five player after she came back from 5-1 down in the first set.

Alex de Minaur has defended his Mexican Open title after defeating Norwegian Casper Ruud in straight sets in Acapulco.

The match took just under two hours as the pair battled in long rallies, with the difference being the Australian’s ability to capitalise on break points, nailing three of four while Ruud converted just one of four.

The 25-year-old took an early lead in the first set at 3-1 and served out the rest of the set, while in the second the pair broke each other before de Minaur had the decisive break in the seventh game.

De Minaur won the same competition last year, beating American Tommy Paul, and further solidified his ranking in the top ten.

He has won 10 straight games in Acapulco and is the first player since David Ferrer in 2012 to win back-to-back titles at the tournament.

He defeated Jack Draper in the semi-final after the Englishman retired ill in the third set.

Katie Boulter will play in her first WTA-500 final after she beat American Emma Navarro in straight sets at the San Diego Open.

It took just over an hour for Boulter who won the first set 6-3 and dominated the second 6-1 against the third seed.

The 27-year-old from Leicester dominated on her serve, winning more than 87 per cent of first serve points and allowed just two break points opportunities against her serve, saving both.

Rain stopped play early in the second set, but the delay did nothing to stop Boulter’s momentum as she produced an almost perfect set to secure victory.

Boulter will climb to her career-high WTA ranking after the win as she looks to win her first WTA-500 title in what will be the biggest game of her career so far.

Jack Draper retired in the third set of his semi-final against Australian Alex de Minaur at the Mexican Open in Acapulco.

Draper left the court 4-0 down in the final set because of an undisclosed illness after he staged a strong comeback from a set down to the defending champion.

The Australian started strongly, taking the first 6-3 and capitalising on four of six break points – the first set Draper had dropped in the tournament.

But the British number three staged a valiant comeback, winning the second set 6-2 with some strong returns.

His illness became an issue towards the end of the second set with the 22-year-old receiving treatment from the physiotherapist and tournament doctor.

Things only got worse in the third set as the Australian won four consecutive games before Draper retired from the match.

De Minaur said after the match that he wishes Draper a “speedy recovery”.

“He’s a hell of a player, a hell of a talent and I hope it’s nothing too serious,” he said.

Katie Boulter is through to a first WTA 500 semi-final after beating Croatia’s Donna Vekic in straight sets at the San Diego Open.

The British number one followed up her win over second seed Beatriz Haddad Maia in the last 16 by knocking out the 2022 runner-up 6-4 6-3.

From trailing 3-1 in the first set, Boulter won nine of the next 10 games in another confident display.

She will climb to a career-high ranking, on the brink of the top 40, following her latest victory.

Vecic, seeded seventh, broke first in the opening set but then allowed Boulter to hit straight back after an error-strewn service game.

Boulter then saved three break points to hold and grabbed a crucial second break for 5-4 before serving out the set.

Two stunning Boulter backhands brought the 27-year-old from Leicester another break at the start of the second, and a subsequent break to love put her in complete control.

Boulter let Vecic claw one break back as she served for the set, but she converted her first match point with a clubbing forehand after the longest rally of the match, wrapping up the victory in an hour and 36 minutes.

“It was an absolute battle in tricky conditions, it was not easy to get any rhythm as we are both big hitters,” Boulter said in her on-court interview.

“I got over the line in the first set and played some good stuff in the second.”

World number five Andrey Rublev was sensationally defaulted after being accused of swearing at a line judge in the deciding set of his semi-final at the Dubai Open.

The combustible Russian was trailing 6-5 in the third against Alexander Bublik when he appeared to say something to the line judge.

ATP supervisor Roland Herfel came down to the court accompanied by a Russian speaker, who claimed Rublev had sworn in his native language.

Rublev protested, insisting he was speaking in English, while Bublik also backed his opponent.

“I didn’t say ‘f******’. I swear to God. This is huge. I swear to God,” said Rublev.

The offence would usually merit a warning in the first instance, but the 26-year-old was defaulted by umpire Miriam Bley amid jeers from the crowd in Dubai.

It was a controversial end to a tight match, with Kazakhstan’s Bublik progressing to the final 6-7 (4) 7-6 (5) 6-5.

Jack Draper cruised into the semi-finals of the Mexican Open in Acapulco as he beat Miomir Kecmanovic 6-2 6-2.

The British number three is ranked three places higher than his opponent at world number 50, but the gulf between them on court proved much greater.

Draper broke Kecmanovic in the third game of the opening set and repeated the feat for a 4-1 lead, serving out to take the opening set in 31 minutes.

The start of the opening set proved a tighter tussle, the first four games going with serve as Draper survived a break point to level at 2-2.

Draper took control from that moment, capitalising on his fourth break point to win the fifth set and adding a double break to move 5-2 ahead.

He served out to love in the final game, booking his place in the last four in 80 minutes.

Draper beat both Kecmanovic and American Tommy Paul, who he defeated in his opening match in Acapulco, en route to the final in Adelaide in January.

Andy Murray revealed on Wednesday that he is unlikely to play beyond this summer as retirement looms ever nearer.

The three-time grand slam champion will be 37 in May and has won only two matches so far this season.

Here, the PA news agency looks at when Murray might call it a day.

Does he have a date in mind?

It appears likely he does, although it would be a surprise if he announced it much in advance. Murray said last year he had an idea of when he would like to stop, and his poor form over the last few months has brought the issue into sharper focus.

What about Wimbledon?

Bowing out at the All England Club would seem the ideal scenario. The venue for his career-defining achievements, and in front of an adoring home crowd, would offer a fitting scene to bring this chapter to a close. But it may be a bit too soon.

What are the other possibilities?

Murray has already indicated he would like to play in another Olympics. His two singles gold medals mark him out from his peers and his run to the title in 2012 is arguably his best ever tournament. But this summer’s event will take place at Roland Garros, and it seems doubtful he would want his last event to be on clay. The US Open, the scene of his first grand slam title in 2012, is another possibility, while the Davis Cup finals group stage on home soil in September could also be an option.

Will he definitely stop this year?

That certainly appears to be the direction of travel but Murray has always found decision-making difficult and there is no bigger decision that this one. Should his form pick up markedly, it could well be that he decides to extend his career.

Jack Draper needed little more than an hour to book his place in the quarter-finals of the Mexican Open in Acapulco.

The 22-year-old, who beat seventh seed Tommy Paul in the previous round, proved too strong for Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka, winning 6-3 6-0 in 68 minutes.

The British number three started strongly, breaking the world number 82 in his opening scoring game and threatening as he opened a 3-0 lead.

Games went on serve as Nishioka fought to stay in touch at 5-3, but Draper served out to win the opening set in 42 minutes.

He was barely troubled after that, again breaking Nishioka to start the second set.

He broke twice more and stayed firm on his own serve to book a place in the last eight.

Andy Murray confirmed he is set to retire this summer after losing to Ugo Humbert in the second round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

Murray produced his best win for several months in the first round by seeing off Denis Shapovalov but fell to a 6-2 6-4 loss against 18th-ranked Frenchman Humbert.

Speaking to reporters post-match, the 36-year-old said of his future: “I’m likely not going to play past this summer.

“I get asked about it after every single match that I play, every single tournament that I play. I’m bored of the question, to be honest.

“I’m not going to talk more about that between now and whenever the time comes for me to stop. But, yes, I don’t plan on playing much past this summer.”

Murray has not won more than a single match at any tournament since August and, after beating Shapovalov, the Scot talked about trying to do his best “these last few months”.

Murray has said previously he has an idea of when he would like to bow out, and he told Radio 4’s Today programme: “When the time is right I will probably say something before I play my last match and my last tournament.”

While Wimbledon appears the most logical venue for Murray to call time on his glittering career, the Scot is tempted by another crack at the Olympics in Paris this summer.

Murray is the only tennis player to have won back-to-back singles gold medals, in London and Rio, and he said: “Hopefully I can get the chance to compete at another one.”

If the Scot does not qualifying by ranking – he has slipped down the standings to 67 – he could seek a spot in the draw as a previous champion.

Murray dropped serve twice in succession in the opening set against Humbert and was unable to apply any real pressure on his opponent’s delivery, winning just seven return points during the contest.

The second set was a little closer, but Murray cut a thoroughly frustrated figure, ranting at himself and smacking the umpire’s chair with his racket, as he attempted to trade with the clean-hitting Frenchman, who clinched victory after only an hour-and-a-half.

Andy Murray’s search for back-to-back wins goes on after he was comfortably beaten by Ugo Humbert in the second round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

Murray produced his best win for several months in the first round by seeing off Denis Shapovalov but fell to a 6-2 6-4 loss against 18th-ranked Frenchman Humbert.

Murray dropped serve twice in succession in the opening set and was unable to apply any real pressure on Humbert’s delivery, winning just seven return points during the contest.

The second set was a little closer, but Murray cut a thoroughly frustrated figure as he attempted to trade with the clean-hitting Frenchman, who clinched victory after only an hour-and-a-half.

Murray has not won more than a single match at any tournament since August and speculation continues around when he will depart the court for good.

After beating Shapovalov, the Scot talked about trying to do his best “these last few months”, but he has now hinted he would like to keep going until at least this summer’s Olympics.

Murray has said previously he has an idea of when he would like to bow out, and he told Radio 4’s Today programme he is likely to make that information public at some point.

“When the time is right I will probably say something before I play my last match and my last tournament,” he said. “Whether I say anything months ahead of the time, I don’t know.”

While Wimbledon appears the most logical venue for Murray to call time on his glittering career, the Scot is tempted by another crack at the Olympics in Paris this summer.

Murray is the only tennis player to have won back-to-back singles gold medals, in London and Rio, and he said: “Hopefully I can get the chance to compete at another one.”

If the Scot does not qualifying by ranking – he has slipped down the standings to 67 – he could seek a spot in the draw as a previous champion.

Andy Murray has hinted he will keep going until at least this summer’s Olympics.

The 36-year-old has been speaking openly about the impending end of his career this season and said after beating Denis Shapovalov in Dubai on Monday: “I probably don’t have too long left, but I’ll do as best as I can these last few months.”

Murray has said previously he has an idea of when he would like to bow out, and he told Radio 4’s Today programme he is likely to make that information public at some point.

“When the time is right I will probably say something before I play my last match and my last tournament,” he said. “Whether I say anything months ahead of the time, I don’t know.”

While Wimbledon appears the most logical venue for Murray to call time on his glittering career, the Scot is tempted by another crack at the Olympics in Paris this summer.

Murray is the only tennis player to have won back-to-back singles gold medals, in London and Rio, and he said: “Hopefully I can get the chance to compete at another one.”

If the Scot does not qualifying by ranking – he has slipped down the standings to 67 after a difficult start to the year – he could seek a spot in the draw as a previous champion.

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